Tennis

Judy Murray’s Top Tennis Tips

Judy Murray was former captain of the British Federation Cup team and a professional tennis player herself. She is also proud mum to Jamie and Andy, both Wimbledon champions! She amassed 64 titles in Scotland before briefly turning professional. She’s also coached many players at regional and national level as part of programmes ran by the Lawn Tennis Association.

“In many ways we couldn’t do without the technology at our fingertips. It opens doors and allows us to connect instantly to the global community as well as our own families.

“But the research has highlighted a concern amongst parents that the digital world, with all the alerts, texts, tweets, calls and instant messages it brings, can have a negative impact on how active families are today.

“Tennis is the perfect solution. It can be played almost anywhere with a little bit of creativity and imagination. Our first ‘court’ was our driveway at home, with two chairs and a piece of rope for the net. The boys’ first ‘match’ was hitting balloons to each other across the sofa.

“Even if your time is limited, 10 minutes a day of simple but fun skill-building activities at home will help kids to develop a variety of skills, from coordination in both sides of the body to reaction time. The trick is to start simple and build confidence through success.

“With Highland Spring Mini Tennis sessions taking place across the country and a summer of tennis just around the corner, it’s the perfect opportunity to pack your bottle of water, pick up a racket and get playing.”

Ten things to know

  1. Tennis can be played almost anywhere with a little bit of creativity and imagination. Our first "court" was our driveway at home, with two chairs and a piece of rope for the net.
  2. The physical skills needed to play tennis can be developed at home using everyday household objects. ‎Jamie and Andy used to knock balloons over the sofa in our living room using their hands or cardboard cut out bats when they were toddlers.
  3. Tennis is quite a complex coordination sport, so learning how to handle a piece of equipment and to throw and ‎catch a ball are pre-requisites to hitting a ball with a tennis racket.
  4. Tennis is a two-sided sport so it's important to develop coordination in both sides of the body. Make sure kids learn to throw, catch, roll and kick with left and right limbs.
  5. ‎Because tennis is a combat sport, you always need someone to play with. Parents and siblings are usually the first port of call so even if your time is limited, 10 minutes a day of simple but fun skill-building activities at home, will help your kids to progress.
  6. Tennis is an unpredictable sport. You never know where or how your opponent is going to hit the ball. So you need to have quick reactions and be able to hit at different heights and varying speeds. Try throwing and catching with left hand, right hand and both hands together... from ankle height to above the head.
  7. Serving is often the hardest thing to learn. Pinata is a great way to get kids hitting above their head with a bat in their hand. ‎Fill a plastic bag with ripped up paper (and a few wrapped sweets). Tie a knot in it and loop the knot over a stick or the washing line. Ask kids to run and jump up to smack the pinata with their bats until the bag breaks and the sweets fall out. It’s a simple way to learn the serving/smashing motion.
  8. Learn to judge distances/heights and improve aiming skills by putting a number of targets at varying heights/distances/directions. Start by throwing at the closest targets and then move to those further away.
  9. Always start simple and achievable. Build confidence through success and then make the task tougher. As soon as a kid can do something easily, make it more challenging. That's the way to develop coordination skills.
  10. Be encouraging and demonstrate how to do things. Kids learn best by copying.

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